Malingering Follow-up

Updated: Aug 23, 2017
  • Author: David Bienenfeld, MD; Chief Editor: Randon S Welton, MD  more...
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Hostile or threatening behavior may ensue if the malingerer's claims are challenged, or if the physician fails to respond to his/her demands for disability certification, medications, etc.



Malingering behavior typically persists as long as the desired benefit outweighs the inconvenience or distress of seeking medical confirmation of the feigned illness.


Patient Education

While the physician may wish to educate the patient about better ways of achieving goals than by malingering, the reasons are usually more deeply rooted than just a cognitive deficit and require behavioral interventions, psychotherapy, and counseling.

Family education

The physician should determine whether revealing the malingering to the family will do more harm than good. If the family is adversely affected by the malingering behavior, it may be helpful for family members to know that the evidence is strong that no physical ailment is causing the patient's distress. They may be encouraged to resist the patient's efforts to manipulate them to accommodate the feigned illness at their own. While malingerers are both resistant to accepting psychotherapy and refractory to its benefits, family members may benefit from family counseling to develop adaptive approaches to the malingering behavior. [5, 14]